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Hamilton not expecting to challenge for title

ESPN Staff
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Lewis Hamilton: "I don't really look at myself as a championship contender at the moment" © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton does not see himself as a title contender this year as he heads into the second half of the season 58 points off championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton is fourth in the championship and has started from the front row of the grid at the last five races. However, he has yet to win a grand prix this season and with Mercedes still struggling in race conditions he does not see himself closing the gap to Vettel in the second half of the season.

"I don't really look at myself as a championship contender at the moment," he said. "As a team we are second in the constructors' championship and at the start of the season everybody was writing me off and all of a sudden they've changed their opinions and we've had really good results.

"That's just due to all the hard work the team has put in and we're not going to give up and we will keep pushing and hope that we get some wins at future races. It's really tough but I'm really pleased with where the team is, especially compared to where they were last year."

Mercedes heads to Hungary as the only team yet to test Pirelli's new tyres for the second half of the season. As part of the team's punishment for its private test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix, it was banned from the Young Driver Test where the new tyres, which feature a 2012 construction and 2013 compounds, were tested for the first time. However, Hamilton does not think it will be a major issue for his team this weekend.

"It doesn't really faze me," he said. "It would definitely help if we were there [at Silverstone] and we had an understanding of how to set the car up with the new tyres and see what characteristics they have and how they behave on long runs. But we will try to figure that out this weekend and at the end of the day it is what it is and we will try to do the best with what we have got. It's a great team and I have no doubts we will make up for the lost time."